With temperatures set to soar throughout this week, here are ten tips to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy during the heatwave. We spoke with Gillian Bird of the Dublin Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and she had this advice...
1. Don’t leave your furry friend in the car
The ISPCA strongly advises against leaving your dog in the car for any length of time, saying "an open window is not sufficient."
Gillian warns against putting dogs in the boot while driving: "If you wouldn’t leave a block of ice cream in the boot of your car, don’t leave your dog there."
2. Don’t walk your dog in the middle of the day.
It’s important not to overexert pets on walks. Sensitive paw pads can burn on the hot surface so first thing in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are lower is best.
3. Ensure there’s plenty of fresh, clean water
Pets can become dehydrated and overheat quickly. Make sure to constantly top up your pets water supply.
DSPCA are particularly concerned about dehydrated horses as they have dealt with a number of cases recently.
Speaking of water...
4. Be extra careful at the poolside
Beware that not all dogs are good swimmers. Be cautious of dogs around paddling pools, swimming pools or large areas of water.
5. Keep toxic chemicals away
Some human sun creams, insect repellents and weed killers are toxic for dogs. If you’re using sun protection or repellents for your pets make sure they’re animal-friendly.
Gillian from DSPCA advises consulting your vet when choosing sun protection for your pets. Products containing zinc are unsuitable for some animals.
6. Don’t shave your pets
Often people think they are helping their pets by freeing them of their furry coat, but coats act as a natural sun barrier and help prevent sunburn and overheating. Feel free to trim longer hair on your canines but refrain from shaving them.
7. Be aware of the signs of heat stroke
Dogs don’t have sweat glands and so can only lose heat by panting. Overheating signs include excessive panting, increased heart rate, dry or pale gums, drooling, weakness or collapse.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday, Bairbre O’Malley from the Veterinary Hospital in Bray said:
"Any dog that’s got a short nose like a pug or a boxer, [are] overbred these days so their nose is so short their soft palate and their internal mouth organs are all squashed together so in any high temperature at all, they’re at real risk of getting asphyxiated".
If you suspect your dog is suffering heat stroke, CARA Veterinary Group advises putting your dog in a cool, shady spot and spraying cool water on the back of its neck, before contacting your vet.
8. Don’t share your barbeque
Most barbequed food is not suitable for canine consumption. Keep your pets' diet as normal as possible. Be particularly mindful of alcohol and keep it away from your pets.
9. Find a spot in the shade
Whether it’s under a tree in the garden or moving indoor cages away from windows, ensure pets are not exposed to direct sunlight.
That includes fish tanks, the water temperatures in fish tanks quickly rises when exposed to the sun, DSPCA’s Gillian encourages carefully adding cool water to the tank and keeping the curtains in the room pulled.
She also warns pet owners to keep greenhouses and conservatories closed so pets can’t get trapped inside.
10. Be vigilant during storms
With a warm spell forecast, the likelihood of storms is high as the heatwave reaches its climax. The ISPCA warns against leaving pets outdoors due to the stress caused by loud unfamiliar noises.